In the second of two consecutive nights of boxing at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, unbeaten Puerto Rican featherweight Luis 'Orlandito' Del Valle won the NABA featherweight championship with a ten round unanimous decision over Dat Nguyen, a Vietnamese boxer out of Vero Beach, Florida. Team Puerto Rico offered 'The Borinqua Invasion' of mostly Puerto Rican up-and-coming talent, as the combined effort of promoters Lou DiBella, Gary Shaw, Leon Margules and Javier Bustillo broadcast on ESPN2 Friday night fights, and Saturday on Shobox: The Next Generation.
Del Valle learned quickly what boxing writers already knew, Nguyen was like an old resilient Timex watch-he took a licking but kept on ticking. Del Valle tagged Nguyen with body shots in center-of-the-ring in-fighting, and head shot flurries when Nguyen retreated to the ropes in an attempt to get Del Valle to punch himself out.
Del Valle never used the jab, and Nguyen seemed that he didn’t want to. So Del Valle did what he did best-come forward and put pressure on Nguyen in the middle and later rounds, winning all but one round on the cards. Nguyen threw numerous wild haymaker hooks all over the place, but they all missed thrown from too far a distance. Del Valle enjoyed a slight height and reach advantage, which Nguyen was unable to overcome, despite his willingness to go to war.
Del Valle, 18-0 (10), Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and Nguyen, now 17-2 (6), both went the ten round distance for the first time in their careers, and both prepared well for the challenge, which made for an exciting televised Showtime fight. The first two rounds appeared even, as both fighters cautiously felt each other out in center ring. Nguyen came forward, and Del Valle moved side-to-side as counterpuncher. Del Valle made one mistake-going to the ropes and getting hit with a straight left jab which caused a mouse under his right eye. Del Valle never returned to the ropes again, a wise decision.
Del Valle won the third round with slight more aggressiveness, landing several uppercuts inside. Del Valle won the fourth round landing body shots on Nguyen on the ropes, with Nguyen landing some counter head shots.
If Nguyen's strategy was to use Muhammad Ali's rope-a-dope and get Del Valle to punch himself out, it didn't work early on. So Nguyen went back to the center of the ring and fought a close fifth round which could have gone either way. Del Valle worked the body, with Nguyen countering with wild counter hooks, with neither fighter scoring decisively.
Nguyen retreated to the ropes and took a lot of head shots in the sixth round, hoping Del Valle would punch himself out but taking a huge beating in the process, prompting referee Steve Smoger to call in the ringside doctor after the round ended to take a look. Del Valle scored convincing, but declined to try for a knockout, as it was already clear Nguyen was a cinder block which could not be broken. Del Valle continued to win rounds on points.
Nguyen's best round was the seventh round, which he won by going into the center of the ring and scoring with jabs, and landing slightly more jabs overall. Nguyen failed to capitalize on his best chance in the rounds which followed.
Rounds eight, nine and ten were all a repeating pattern: Nguyen on the ropes taking punishment from Del Valle, with Nguyen occasionally throwing wild haymakers which missed completely. Late in the tenth round, Del Valle finally staggered the weary Nguyen off the ropes with power shots which scored, forcing Nguyen to hold on as the bout ended.
The bout was probably closer than the scoring indicated, but Nguyen's idea of trying the rope-a-dope was clearly a losing strategy against a smarter Del Valle.
There was a brief stoppage in the tenth when Nguyen's right hand tape became loose.
Result: Luis Del Valle UD10 Dat Nguyen, Featherweights
Scoring: 99-91 from all three judges
In two preliminary bouts to the main event, Brooklyn junior welterweight Gabriel 'Tito'
Bracero scored a 40 second first round technical knockout over Guillermo Valdes of Miami, Florida. Bracero, now working with trainer Tommy Gallagher and physical conditioning specialist John Schaeffer, went the 'extra mile' to prime his physical conditioning and it showed. Bracero, improves to 16-0 (2), Valdes falls to 12-4 (3).
Result: Gabriel Bracero TKO1 Guillermo Valdes, Junior Welterweights
In the other preliminary bout, Jonathan 'Manequilla' Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, went the distance for the first time in his career by winning a ten round decision seasoned veteran Ricardo Gutierrez, a Columbian fighting out of Miami, Florida, to win the vacant NABO and WBA Fedalatin Super Welterweight titles. Gonzalez, now 14-0 (13), does not yet have the slickness in the ring of his namesake, Jose 'La Mantequilla' Napoles, the great Mexican Welterweight champion of yesteryear.
Gutierrez, 26-7-1 (16), had a significant strategy to take Gonzalez into uncharted territory past the seventh round. Since Gutierrez had been in bouts which went eight rounds to twelve rounds a dozen times he figured maybe Gonzalez would fade in the later rounds. It did not happen, and Gutierrez lost his third straight bout as Gonzalez outworked him from pillar to post.
Both fighters appeared in fine condition. Gonzalez, a 2008 Puerto Rican Olympic competitor, immediately took the bout to center ring and won the first round throwing straight right hands and some right-left combinations. Gutierrez appeared defensive with upraised arms, and blocked the majority of shots. Gutierrez threw a few lefts near the end of the round.
The second round was the round of the year in New York City, with both fighters engaging in a toe to toe war in center ring in the first half of the round, and then Gutierrez fighting off the ropes in the second half of the round. The round was even with Gutierrez landing some significant overhand right hands.
The third round was a slow quiet round in center ring, with Gonzalez winning the round with consistent jabbing. Gutierrez attempted counters which fell short. Gutierrez appeared to win the fourth and fifth rounds, as Gonzalez held a low left which enabled Gutierrez to score with left hands over the top.
Gutierrez began fighting dirty, using low blows, holding and hitting, hitting behind the head, and taunting Gonzalez, whose offense had slowed. Gutierrez was also seen landing a right kidney punch with the fighters positioned out of the visual range of referee Gary Rosato.
The sixth was an even round, with Gonzalez landing a series of straight left hands which forced Gutierrez off the ropes, then knocking Gutierrez down with an accidental low blow which made himself look bad, forcing a stoppage in the action for recovery time.
The seventh and eighth rounds were closer. In the seventh, both fighters traded well placed power shots in center ring. Gutierrez settled on the ropes and attempted to draw Gonzalez in. Gonzalez did not fall for the trap, and both fighters traded singly placed shots at a distance from each other.
In the ninth, Gutierrez tried holding and hitting, and counter fighting off the ropes. Gonzalez landed a number of well-placed head shots to win the round. In the tenth, Gutierrez tired, leading to the referee breaking up holds three times, the only holds of the bout. Both fighters threw head jabs, with Gonzalez landing more to win the round.
The fight was probably closer than the scoring, but Gonzalez won the bout by punch output. A good amount of this bout was fought on the ropes in a telephone booth, which benefited Gonzalez as attacker with Gutierrez on the ropes. Overall, an entertaining fight!
Result: Jonathan Gonzalez W10 Ricardo Gutierrez, Featherweights
Scoring: 99-91 from all three judges
Saturday Night's Undercards, June 11, 2011
Jorge Masonet Jr. KO1 Adam Alvarez (Time of 0:21), Junior Welterweights
Amanda Serrano TKO1 Jennifer Scott (Time of 1:40), Female Super Featherweights
Raul Lopez UD6 Victor Valenzuela, Bantamweights
Friday Night's Undercards, June 10, 2011
Thomas Dulorme UD10 DeMarcus Corley, Welterweights
Kenny Galarza SD10 Irving Garcia, Welterweights
Alex Perez TKO2 Manuel Guzman, Welterweights
Steve Martinez TKO2 Brad Jackson, Junior Middleweights
Emmanuel Gonzalez UD6 Jason Rorie, Featherweights
Jose Pedraza TKO1 Tomi Archambault (Time of 2:11), Lightweights.
Boyd Melson TKO3 Kelvin Kibbler (Time of 1:30), Light Middleweights